3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don’t Have the Space)

With a little inspiration and organization, you can create an entryway that makes coming and going a breeze.

Drop zones, mudrooms, utility rooms, entryways, “places to leave your stuff.” Whatever you choose to call them, these spaces are invaluable as a spot to kick off your shoes, drop your keys, and keep everything you’ll need for the next day right where you left it.

Sometimes these spaces can be hard to come by, especially if you live in an apartment or studio. Without organization, shoes usually end up piled in front of the door waiting to trip an unsuspecting victim, and an array of backpacks, mail, dog leashes and knickknacks can clutter your home to the point of embarrassment.

Photo from Zillow listing.

But having a dedicated, organized and stylish drop zone for all of your daily needs — and to welcome your guests — is absolutely achievable, no matter the size or design of your living space.

Try these tips to establish a functional entryway in a home of any size.

Make a little room

Since it’s generally not possible to remodel or add on to a rental apartment, you must work with what you have.

Try a narrow console table for tight hallways as a place to drop your keys or leave your outgoing mail.

If space is really tight and all you have is the wall behind your door, hang hooks for coats and bags so they stay off the floor.

Another small-space trick: Temporarily remove your coat closet’s door, and add a stool or small bench inside as a place to sit and take off your shoes — and still have room for coats.

If your apartment is inside a secure building, you may be able to leave out a basket or tray for shoes in the shared hallway.

Add functionality

A mirror can also go a long way in opening up and brightening tight areas by reflecting light and giving the illusion of more space.

Retailers like IKEA sell modern pieces that can be modified to fit narrow spaces or hung on the wall. Measure your desired entryway space, and find furniture that will make the most of the room you have.

Having dedicated spaces for accessories also will make your drop zone a functional center. A devoted bowl or hook to hang your keys, a folder to sort your mail, and a basket to keep your shoes in really makes a difference in the flow of your day.

Leave a message

Bump practicality up a notch by having a message center in your drop zone where you can pin important reminders or leave messages for family members. It’s a great way to keep everyone connected as they go in and out.

A docking station to charge all your electronics can also be useful here. Look for compact and small accessories that will fit your space, yet serve the purpose you need.

By customizing your drop zone with features you need that will fit your home, you’ll keep everything streamlined and easy to find when you need it.

Posted by Erica Sooter on Zillow

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Maximizing Your Laundry & Mudroom Spaces

Turn a single-use utility space into a housekeeping workhorse that makes home organization a snap.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Utilitarian spaces like laundry rooms and mudrooms seldom receive the attention they deserve, which is odd when you consider how often they are used. A properly planned utility room can be a complete housekeeping area that simplifies your household chores.

These rooms may even serve multiple purposes. A mudroom may double as a grooming center for the family pets and a storage room for sports gear. An overhead rack in a laundry room can be used for drying flowers as well as clothes, and the sink can be turned into a potting center.

Here’s how to make the most of these hard-working spaces.

Mudroom

Leverage the space. A mudroom is the ideal storage space for shoes, lunch bags, sports equipment, and pet essentials such as food dishes, leashes, blankets and toys. You don’t even need an entire room to reap a mudroom’s benefits. A narrow hall, a partial wall, or even space carved out from between wall studs will do just fine.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Supply smart storage. Instead of letting a mudroom become cluttered, take advantage of its potential. Counters, tables and benches can serve as storage pieces that collect and organize both day-to-day and seasonal items. A built-in cabinet that resembles a set of lockers will allow individual family members to have their own space. Other essentials for the room might include an umbrella stand, boot tray, baskets, and a chalk or message board.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Organize on a budget. Many cost-effective storage solutions are tailored specifically for utility spaces. Home centers and container stores offer a wealth of inexpensive storage ideas, such as wall-mounted racks for boots, shelving for hats, and hooks and baskets for sports gear.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Laundry room

Make it multi-functional. A full-sized laundry room offers flexible options beyond just doing laundry. If there’s space for more than appliances and a sink, add a table or table-height shelf for folding laundry, wrapping gifts, or potting plants. Add extra shelves or cabinets to store supplies. A drying rack over the sink that folds up against the wall makes it easy to hang clothing directly out of the washing machine.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Paint the walls. You may spend a lot of time in this area, so make sure it’s attractive. Paint the room a vibrant color that draws you in, or a soothing color that calms. Wall sayings or murals are a fun way to add interest.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Contain it. Laundry rooms are more functional if organized. Use clear jars or colored pottery for clothespins, sewing items and detergent. Choose various heights to add interest.

Play it up. “Dirty Laundry” never sounded so good as when sung in the utility room. Make sure you have access to music for some background interest. This utilitarian space should be just as interesting as the rest of your home.

Check out more mudrooms and laundry rooms for inspiration.

Published by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow Blog.

Get Your Rainboots Ready: The Makings of a Mudroom

As the main staging area for arrivals and departures, the mudroom is a much relied-upon space in the home. If your floor plan doesn’t include a mudroom, you can create one by screening or walling in a section of an existing room, by finishing an attached porch or by building a small addition. However you go about it, once you have a mudroom, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one!

Location

Whether you start from scratch or convert an existing room — or part of it — into a mudroom, choose a location that is frequently used by your family to get in and out of the house. Kitchens or pantries with entry doors to the exterior are ideally suited to incorporate a mudroom. Garages are also excellent candidates. Utility or laundry rooms with an outside entrance make good mudrooms as well — you can wash and dry your wet, dirty clothes on the spot! The same is true of basements that are equipped with plumbing and have entry doors to the exterior.

Flooring

Because the main function of a mudroom is to keep mud and snow away from the rest of the house, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting the floor dirty — there will be plenty of dirt. So, you’ll need to select durable flooring that is easy to clean.

Tile makes hard-wearing and decorative floors but for safety reasons, choose nonslip styles. Vinyl tile and linoleum flooring is durable and washable too, but make sure the color and pattern you pick will hide dirt and stains easily. Another good option is concrete. Its easy maintenance makes it perfect for mudroom floors, and when stained, colored or painted, it can be a very attractive flooring material.

Whatever you choose as your flooring surface, be sure to place fiber mats or absorbent rugs near the entryway to catch water and dirt before they get tracked through the house. It’s a good idea to install a boot scraper just outside the entrance to your mudroom, so dirt and mud won’t make it over the threshold.

If you have the budget and your home allows for it, consider installing a drain in the center of the room and angling the floor slightly so water and slushy, melting snow can drain away, and you can easily wash out the room as often as required. If it’s not practical to place a drain in the center of the room, consider putting it in a corner where you can set a mesh rack above it for wet boots and shoes. If a drain is not possible, a sturdy rubber mat with sidewalls should do the trick.

Extra storage

As any homeowner knows, you can never have enough storage; this is especially true in your mudroom. Because it’s the main pickup and drop-off spot in the house, the mudroom needs to accommodate coats, scarves, boots, cycling helmets and backpacks — thereby stopping these items from littering entryways, hallways and bedrooms.

One way to eliminate clutter is to install cabinets fitted with pegs, shelves and drawers. Assign a specific storage space to each family member. Make them all responsible for putting away their own coats, shoes and other items they use every day. If your budget allows, include upper cabinets in the plan. They’re great for stashing out-of-season items.

It’s also a good idea to include a storage bench in the mudroom. It’s not only convenient for removing wet shoes, but it also provides a space below where those shoes can be stowed. (And if the bench is sturdy enough, you can use it to reach those handy upper cabinets!) Again, if you are going to store your shoes in cubbyholes beneath the bench, use plastic trays or mats cut to size to make cleanup easier.

Quick exit & entry

Mudrooms can help create a hassle-free start to the day and a relaxing homecoming in the evening — if they’re well organized. As you’re planning, make sure there’s a place for everything. For example, set up decorative bowls or pegs for car keys and keep a notepad by the door for reminders, or even put up a cork board, whiteboard or chalkboard where family members can leave notes. Set up a charging station for your electronic devices (if your mudroom is heated) so that you won’t forget your phone in the morning. Use pegs or a vintage coat rack to hang dog leashes, shopping bags, and coats so they’re easy to grab quickly. One more practical addition: a mirror to ensure that you leave the house looking well turned out.

Warm welcome

Your guests, family members, and even pets will appreciate coming in from the freezing outdoors to a warm and cozy mudroom. To keep the space toasty, you may need to rely on a space heater or heat lamp (which can also help dry damp clothes), or you can connect the room to the home’s central heating or hardwire an electric baseboard system. If you have a pet, once the room is sufficiently heated, you could consider putting a pet bed in a corner and making the room your companion’s special retreat.

In addition to adequate heating, it’s essential to have proper ventilation in a mudroom to keep the air fresh (there are likely to be a lot of shoes here after all!) and to prevent the growth of mildew and mold. If there are no windows in the room that you can open for fresh air, a bathroom-type exhaust fan can do the trick.

Control room

For frequent travelers who worry about bedbugs or dedicated hikers who are concerned about ticks, the mudroom can be a great place to “decontaminate” when you return home. If you have a washer and dryer in the room, simply unpack or undress in the mudroom and start up a laundry cycle. (Keep some robes and slippers in the room to help with this process!) If your laundry facilities aren’t close by, keep plenty of heavy-duty plastic bags on hand to transport clothing from the mudroom to your laundry room.

One final selling point: If you suffer from allergies, a mudroom can be effective in minimizing the amount of outdoor allergens like dust, pollen and mold that enter the house on your clothing.

Cheerful decor

Even though it has the word “mud” in its name, your mudroom does not need to be drab. You can paint the walls in bright colors and use color-coded storage units and decorative baskets, making the room lively while still keeping things stored neatly and out of sight. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint, and you’ll also have attractive and useful means of keeping your busy family organized. Installing pendant or recessed lighting instead of fluorescent will make the room feel more like home than a storage area — and, after all, it’s both.

This article was originally published by Michael Franco of Bobvila.com on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.